Posted: 15.09.21 at 13:53 by Hannah Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter for Leicestershire
North West Leicestershire District Council is among local authorities calling on residents to help them find homes for Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban.
Leicestershire councils are pulling together to support the Government’s two Afghan resettlement schemes and they are asking those who live in the county for their help.
Charnwood Borough Council, which is co-ordinating the efforts of Oadby and Wigston, North West Leicestershire, Blaby, Hinckley and Bosworth, Melton and Harborough borough and district councils, has said the key focus now is finding suitable homes.
It has urged anyone with an empty property suitable for families to register them via an online Government form.
They have said these need to be single-family homes, rather than house shares.
Cllr Paul Mercer, lead member for private housing at Charnwood Borough Council, said on behalf of all the councils involved: “We have all seen the news coverage highlighting the situation in Afghanistan and naturally we all want to help people who are in real danger.
“The Government has asked councils to support these resettlement schemes and that’s what we are doing in Leicestershire.
“It’s difficult to say how many families we can help as we only have the confirmed details of one scheme and we are waiting for more information on the other. It’s a fast-moving situation.
“The key focus for the resettlement schemes is finding suitable homes for families.
“We would urge anyone who owns a property which may be suitable to register it via the online portal set up by Government. Once a property has been registered it can be assessed for suitability.”
Charnwood council has also asked residents to pause their donation of items for the time being as the focus turns to finding suitable homes.
Leicester is the only city in the Midlands which has stepped up to act as a ‘first port of call’ for those fleeing Afghanistan.
It will offer sanctuary to refugees arriving in the UK while permanent homes are being found for them across the country. Some of those who arrive in Leicester will also remain.
Leicestershire County Council is assisting the boroughs and districts where there are social care needs and access to school places.
The Government has two scheme in progress, one to welcome 5,000 people who currently or formerly worked for British Armed Forces in Afghanistan and their families and a second to resettle a total of 20,000 at-risk Afghans over a five-year period.
Both of these schemes will be funded by the central Government, with some details still to be confirmed.
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